• James Benshoff
  • James Benshoff
  • Counseling and Educational Development
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  • Professor
  • benshoff@uncg.edu
  • 220 Curry Building
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  • At UNCG Since: 1989
  • Mentoring for Mid-Career and New Faculty Mentoring
  • James Benshoff
  • Mentoring for Mid-Career and New Faculty Mentoring
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  • Faculty Groups: Mid Career Faculty Mentoring  
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  • Why Teaching?
  • In undergrad, I was an English major who picked up education courses (and teaching certification) to be able to feel like I had at least one marketable skill as I ventured out of college and into the world of career expectations. Although I was a fairly unmotivated and undirected college student, I found a home at the college radio station and a passion for learning and thinking about teaching. Over the next several years, my career explorations coalesced into a focus on becoming a professional counselor. During graduate work, I discovered that I wanted to combine counseling and teaching, leading to a career as a counselor educator. I’ve always been very interested in integrating my counseling approach and skills with my teaching to create process-based learning experiences with my graduate students. For me, counseling and teaching are both change processes that involve the right balance of challenge and support --and both feel profoundly powerful. Further, for the past 12 years or so, I’ve been supervising our doctoral students during their first year of teaching undergrad service courses for us—and have felt privileged to help them get started on their own teaching careers in higher education.
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  • Why Counseling?
  • Counseling is a process that is built on relationships of trust, challenge, and support. The counseling profession defines itself in terms of prevention, wellness, and a belief in people’s abilities to grow and do better. For me, the belief that people can change has proven to be powerful and growth-producing, whether working in a state psychiatric hospital with children and adolescent patients, working in the community with developmentally disabled adults, or working with college students and mid-life adults on navigating career and life transitions. The ability to be present for clients and to support them through change processes is a gift that I want to be able to share with graduate students through my teaching and clinical supervision.
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  • Why an FTLC Fellowship?
  • At UNCG, I primarily work with doctoral students, helping to mentor them on their teaching and leadership development. In addition, I help with mentoring junior faculty, specifically around teaching. I came to UNCG in 1989 as an assistant professor and have been here ever since, so the demands, expectations, and opportunities here are very familiar to me. When I was asked to serve as FTLC Mentoring Fellow for the 2013-2014 academic year, it seemed like a natural evolution of my work and my interests. I’m excited to work more closely with new tenure-track faculty in Spring 2014 through a series of workshops on topics related to adjustment to academic life at UNCG. In addition, I will be helping to set up individual and/or group mentoring for these faculty members to begin in Fall 2014.
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  • What one thing you would change about UNCG?
  • If I could change one thing about UNCG, it would be reducing the isolation from other faculty in other disciplines. When I first came to UNCG, there were faculty social groups each focused around a different activity or interest. For example, I belonged to the gourmet cooking group, and have many memories of dining and wine drinking adventures shared with like-mind “foodie” faculty from all over the University. The FTLC’s Faculty Center Takeovers have brought some new opportunities to connect with colleagues through something other than committee work. It is functions like this that help to develop UNCG as a community—not just a place for classroom learning and scholarly activities.
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  • What’s Next?
  • In this stage of my career, I am focusing on teaching, particularly online teaching and the use of evolving tools to help teachers reach more different kinds of students in more places in creative and effective ways. I’m particularly eager to share my enthusiasm and growing knowledge about face-to-face and online learning with doctoral students who will become the next generation of professors, as well as with newer faculty who are still in the growing stages of becoming effective teachers. My enthusiasm for online teaching is about how we can use those tools in the service of teaching and learning. I can think of few careers besides teaching where we have such a powerful opportunity to shape others’ lives and thinking—except for maybe counseling. And that pretty much sums up who I am—a counselor educator.
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